Editorial: New postal chief faces lots of turmoil as more cuts loom nationwide

More cuts for the U.S. Postal Service are necessary but unpopular, as these Kansas City workers make clear. JILL TOYOSHIBA / The Kansas City Star

(November 23, 2014) No matter what Megan Brennan does as the nation’s first woman postmaster general, she is bound to make a lot of people unhappy.

In 2015 Brennan, now chief operating officer of the U.S. Postal Service, will replace Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe, who is retiring Feb. 1. Brennan will take over as the agency continues to bleed red ink.

The heavy losses result from Congress mandating a $5.6 billion annual payment for future retiree health benefits. Brennan will have to get the GOP-controlled Congress to change that to help the Postal Service stay afloat.

She also will have to deal with changing consumer habits and their drain on the agency. People’s use of email and social media have caused mail volume to continue to plunge, resulting in job losses and post office closings.

That makes postal unions unhappy with more cuts to come. The Postal Service will close 82 more processing centers nationwide, including one in Springfield, Mo., affecting about 200 employees. Nationwide, about 15,000 postal workers could be affected.

The processing center cuts could affect overnight delivery for first-class mail. The processing center in Kansas City at Truman Road and Cleveland Avenue will continue operations, picking up mail that had gone to the Springfield plant.

About 900 postal workers are employed in the Kansas City area, where there are more than 500 routes and 14 stations and branches, said Stacy St. John, communications specialist with the Postal Service.

The agency has closed more than 350 processing centers since 2005. Since 2004, the agency has downsized by more than 200,000 jobs through attrition.

But the Postal Service has even more downsizing work to do, which could include the loss of mail service on Saturdays. The agency announced recently that it lost $5.5 billion this fiscal year despite revenue being up $569 million because of price increases and growth in package mailing.

Brennan will have to be a political wizard to get needed legislation passed, stop the financial losses and put the Postal Service back on firm footing.

via New postal chief faces lots of turmoil as more cuts loom nationwide | The Kansas City Star.

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